December 2013 RCLAS Wordplay at work newsletter

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Welcome to our New Director, Jennifer Ryan. RCLAS Board Members Left to Right: Ken Ader, Treasurer Jen Ryan, Director at Large Deborah Kelly, Secretary Janet Kvammen, Director at Large Candice James, President Manolis Aligizakis, Vice President resident Candice James

Vice President Manolis Aligizakis Treasurer Ken Ader Secretary Deborah Kelly Director at Large Janet Kvammen Director at Large Renee Saklikar Director at Large Jennifer Ryan

A Big Thank you to Lorraine Kiidumae for helping us at the door! It was wonderful to have Arts Council of New Westminster President, Rick Carswell in attendance. (far right) The Arts Council is a sponsor of RCLAS. We are all looking forward to Lit Fest New West 2014.

With P.W. Bridgman

Dennis E. Bolen with his newly launched first book of poetry, Black Liquor

With Margo Prentice

DECEMBER NEWS newsletter


Max Tell

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Amanda the Panda Dreamed She Was Santa ŠMax Tell

Amanda the Panda dreamed she was Santa, Decked out in all but a beard. She looked quite the peach with snow on her cheeks. Her eyeliner just a bit smeared. Amanda the Panda, boy what a Santa, A dancer in a perfect dream. To her it was bliss, like an eyelash kiss, Or ho-ho-ing down a laser beam. Instead of a sleigh, she snowboarded away. A school bag strapped to her back. You'd think it was small, but not small at all Toys bursting out of her sack. Amanda the Panda, boy what a Santa, A dancer in a perfect dream. To her it was bliss, like an eyelash kiss, Or ho-ho-ing down a laser beam. She zipped and she zithered, zigged and zagged, Chimney to chimney - What speed! Dropping off toys to all girls and boys, To celebrate Christmas Eve. Amanda the Panda, boy what a Santa, A dancer in a perfect dream. To her it was bliss, like an eyelash kiss, Or ho-ho-ing down a laser beam. Ya,ya,ya,ya, Ya, ya, ya, ya. Ho-ho-ing down a laser beam. (Repeat once)

Patty Penguin’s Christmas © Robert "Max Tell" Stelmach 2005

One Christmas Eve, as cold winds blew, Santa’s reindeer caught the flu. They all had headaches in their heads, So Santa sent them to their beds. “We’ll have to cancel Christmas Eve.” A tear, it fell on Santa’s sleeve. The elves, they cried, “Oh, no, not that,” As Santa Claus threw off his cap. “Please, Sir Claus,” a penguin spoke. The elves, they laughed, “Is this a joke? A penguin, here? Are you confused? In the north? We’re not amused.” “But, Sir,” said Patty. She had no shame. “To meet you, Santa, is why I came. I won three wishes. I’ve used up two. And now I give my third to you.” “A wish? A penguin wish? Be gone. A penguin in the north is wrong,” The elves so adamantly cried. Santa Claus, he only sighed. “One hundred penguins, here and now, Just like reindeer, show them how Penguins fly. My wish, make true. I give this gift to all of you.”

The northern lights began to shimmer – A red and blue, a golden glimmer. Then suddenly, lightning flashed, The sky turned grey, then black as ash. The ash, it floated from the sky, Or flew, yes flew. I’ll tell you why. (I’ve never seen a stranger thing, Than penguins flying wing to wing.) They circled once about our heads. The reindeer tumbled from their beds To watch the penguins settle down And land upon the showy ground. Santa laughed, “HO, HO, HO! Penguins fly? I didn’t know.” The elves, they harnessed up the team, A sight, so strange, no one had seen. The penguins pranced, a hundred strong, A team in pairs, fifty long Plus one. Yes one. But not a stead. Patty Penguin took the lead. Santa jumped upon his sleigh The snow behind flew up like spray, As penguins streaked into the night, The moon, it shone starry bright. “On Patty Penguin!” Santa cried, As every elf looked teary eyed. “Thank you, Patty,” I heard them say. “Your wish has saved us Christmas Day.”

THE CHRISTMAS GIFT THAT LOOKED LIKE EVERYTHING By Robert "Max Tell" Stelmach One snowy Christmas morning, a long, long time ago, Gramps and Grams and Uncle John spent Christmas sipping punch with Dad and Mom. Little Teddy Boy found a Christmas gift beside the fireplace where Mom had left a cookie plate and a glass of milk for Old Saint Nick. The box was small, the wrapping paper plain. The note upon the card read, "To Teddy Boy from Santa's Elves." Teddy tore the paper off the box and found a little toy no bigger than a dime. "What's it?" Teddy said. "A mouse," said Grams. "It squeaks. I'm sure. Do try." Teddy squeezed the thing, but not a sound was heard. "What's it?" Teddy said. "A squirrel," said Gramps. "Check it with my glass." Teddy looked through Gramp's looking glass but did not see a furry tail or any tail at all. "What's it?" Teddy said. "A soldier," said his Dad, "I think I see a gun." "We'll not have soldiers in this house," said Mom. "We'll not have guns. Besides, I think it's a babe, like Teddy here." "What's it?" Teddy said. His sister, Sal, blinked her long, curly lashes. She bent down so close they tickled the thing.

It did not laugh or cry. "What's it?" Teddy said. Uncle John pulled his belly in to look. "A stone," he said. "Nothing but a useless thing." "A stone?" said Gramps. "A stone is not useless. But that thing there, that’s no stone." "What's it?" Teddy said. He picked it up and put it in his hand. The warmth of his palm made it move like a melting snow flake. "I'm everything," it said, "and nothing, all in one. I'm Christmas. And once I'm here, I'm gone." "What's that?" said Grams. "What's that? What's that? What's that?" said Gramps, Uncle John and sister Sal. "It spoke," said Dad. "I didn't hear a thing," said Mom. "It's gone. Whatever it was, it's gone," said Gramps. "Only for a year," it said, from somewhere, almost everywhere. "I'll be back again for you, my Teddy Boy, and all your friends and family." "Good-bye What's it," said Teddy. "Good-bye," said Christmas. "Have a Happy New Year.�

(c) 1986 Robert Stelmach

RCLAS member, Richard E. Klyne will have his photography and poetry on exhibit at the New Westminster Public Library during the month of February 2013. Richard and his wife, Kay are both members of New West Artists.

RCLAS Members at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference 2013 having some Halloween fun. Love it! Looking fabulous! Upper left: Jude Neale and Bernice Lever present Franci Louann with her winning Honorable Mention prize in the category of poetry. Way to go, Franci! Photos courtesy of Jean Kay. Thank you.

Our Annual General Meeting Entertainers! Thanks, guys! Catch hosts, Enrico Renz and Lawren Nemeth Sunday nights at The Heritage Grill, 447 Columbia Street, New Westminster, 7PM to 9PM for Songwriter’s Open Mic Night

RCLAS members, Janet Kvammen, Lilija Valis, Candice James, Max Tell and Bernice Lever were among the readers at the Poets and Writers for Peace Read-In! Write-On! Event in Bellingham, Washington, Nov 9, 2013. Thank you to our gracious hosts, Carla Shafer, Betty Scott, Shannon Laws and C.J. Prince. A wonderful day spent with friends, old and new, sharing hopes and dreams for a better world!

DECEMBER 2013 @ POETIC JUSTICE View Calendar and Bios at

HERITAGE GRILL, BACK ROOM 3-5 pm Sunday Afternoons—three features and open mic 447 Columbia St, New Westminster, near the Columbia Skytrain Station CO-FOUNDER & BOOKING MANAGER—Franci Louann Website & Facebook Manager, Photographer—Janet Kvammen Facebook -

December 1 Sunday 3-5pm Poetic Justice Featuring Kyle McKillop/ Lilija Valis/ Eva Waldauf Host: Candice James Come early 2-3pm Special Event: New Westminster Book Launch Renée Sarojini Saklikar “children of air india”

December 8 Sunday 3-5pm Poetic Justice Featuring Kyle Hawke/ Candice James/ Sho Wiley Host: Lilija Valis

December 15 Sunday 3-5pm Poetic Justice Featuring Gavin Hainsworth/ Alan Hill/ Gail Van Kalsbeek Host: Sho Wiley

***CLOSED FOR HOLIDAYS December 22 and December 29***

November 2013 @

**** DECEMBER 11 will be the last Short Story Open Mic of 2013 returning again in January. No Fourth Wed is scheduled in Dec for the Christmas Holiday ***

“The Art of the Memoir” Review and Photos by Deborah Kelly

I attended the Royal City Literary Arts Society presentation with Presenter, Margaret Cadwaladr, “The Art of the Memoir,” and I must say, it was absolutely wonderful! I believe that all who attended were very moved by the story of George Reid, a World War II Veteran, and completely enjoyed the evening. Margaret presented a video in which she had an extensive interview with George regarding his memories of the war days. When she interviewed him, he was 84 and sadly, passed away at 90 years of age. His account of his war days was poignant, moving and extremely revealing. In the interview he spoke about his time in the German POW camps. They were absolutely brutal, and though Canadians seemed to be treated better than most, it was still brutal.

George described the challenges and fears he and his fellow soldiers faced during their escape and eventual return to Canada as the war was coming to an end. I did purchase his book entitled, ”Speed’s War,” the memoirs of George A. Reid, and was so glad I did. Written simply but eloquently, it is a book that was well worth the read. Though I am not normally a history buff, I can say with all honesty, that I absolutely loved his story. I came away from the presentation, and the book, with a much deeper understanding of those years and of the men that fought so hard for the freedoms that we enjoy today. My thanks to all those who came before, and those who still live today, for the selfless commitment you made through your lives so that others could be free.

The Umbrella Christmas Tree By Margo Prentice I was only five years old and very excited that Santa would soon visit and that Christmas day was not far away. My brother Armand was also very excited and we both looked forward to Christmas day with excitement and anticipation. It was 1942 and my beloved Daddy had been away in a war far away and my Mother cried the day she got a letter from the government that Daddy was 'missing'. I did not quite understand what missing meant but I wasn't worried I just knew my Daddy would come home to me and my brother. Mother had moved to the city from a small prairie town and we were not able to go to the country that year. We lived in the city of Winnipeg, which is in the heart of Canada and the winters got very cold and that particular year was very, very cold! I just knew in my heart that Santa would come no matter what the weather was like because Santa had magic powers and could visit all the children in the world. Armand and I spent the days before Christmas playing indoors as it was far too cold to play outside. We would look out the window to see the snow falling very fast, blowing and swirling against the glass. Because it was a time of war food was rationed which meant that mother could only get a small amount of things, 'things' like milk, eggs, butter and sugar. I remember that there were not many things in the house for Christmas but I didn't even think about it I was just happy that on this special day of the year, I would feel the joy and happiness. My Mother did explain that the baby Jesus was born that year and that was why they celebrated. We were told that the baby Jesus was born in a barn and there were angels and animals all around him. I could hardly wait but the day before Christmas finally arrived! There was no Christmas tree but I just knew that there would be one and that Santa would bring me a present. Mother heated water on the stove and filled a tub big enough for me and Armand to have a bath in front of the stove in the kitchen. Shivering and cold we were dried and put in warm nightgowns, a sweater and socks to keep warm that night. We had a special supper of pancakes with jam and a cup of tea. Once snuggled in bed

together, Mother came in the room and we said their prayers. We whispered in bed about Santa's visit knowing that because we did not have a tree Santa would make us one by magic. He could do that! And off we went to sleep. Christmas morning was so cold in the house that we could see our breath and Mother had put our clothes inside our bed so we could get dressed under the blankets. She told us to stay there until she lit the stove and not to come out of the bed until it was a bit warmer. And she said if we did this there was a wonderful surprise from Santa in the living room. So we waited until we could no longer see our breaths and got out of bed and went to the living room. I could not believe my eyes! On top of Mother's sewing machine was the most beautiful Christmas tree I had ever seen, but it wasn't really a tree but it was so beautiful! It was an umbrella standing in a pot and half-way opened to look like a Christmas tree. It was decorated with Christmas balls on the pointed parts of the umbrella and had garlands of buttons laced around it. An angel was perched on the top. It took my breath away. Beside the tree was my old dolly but she did not look the same, she had a new Christmas dress of red and green velvet. Even her hair had been fixed. I thought Santa was truly a magic person! Armand's old wooden truck had been repaired and painted and there was a small teddy bear in the back of the truck. Santa had also put an orange and some candy in our socks which hung from the sewing machine. We all sat down to a breakfast of warm milk and chunks of bread with sugar and tea! Because it was warmer Mommy suggested we all go outside and play in the snow which we did, building a snowman and laughing, making snow angels and just having a wonderful time. For lunch, we got a piece of bread with jam and had our orange for dessert. After playing all day with my newly dressed doll, it soon got dark. And after a nice supper of porridge with milk and brown sugar Mother took us to the glassed in veranda and we all looked out the window at the stars and sang, 'Silent Night' and 'Way in the Manger' over and over again. I remember this as my best Christmas ever! And now that I am a mother and grand mother I never forgot my umbrella Christmas and how much my Mother had loved us!

Note: My Father was found a year later he had been wounded somewhere in Belgium where he was found nearly dead with nothing to identify him. He remained, 'missing in action' until he regained consciousness.

-------------------------------------------- Š Margo Prentice

Poets, Alan Hill and Candice James read from their newly launched books, The Broken Word and Shorelines to a receptive audience of Holy Wow Poets at The Act Theatre in Maple Ridge on the evening of November 5, 2013. Thanks to RCLAS member Helene Levasseur, Creator of the Holy Wow Poets! Cheers and Chuckles!

FEEDBACK & NEWSLETTER SUBMISSIONS Drop us a line Janet Kvammen: RCLAS Director/ Newsletter Editor & Design Deborah Kelly

Open Call for Submissions - RCLAS Members Only

Poems & Stories & Songs are welcome for submission to future issues of Wordplay at work. Themes include Winter, Love and Haiku for the months of January/ February/March To RCLAS Members: Please send us your latest news, feedback on our newsletter and any ideas/suggestions that you may have for us If you would like to do write a feature, review or article for the newsletter send me your ideas – Janet Kvammen

SUBMITTING TO RCLAS Please send RCLAS your LITERARY EVENTS/BOOK LAUNCHES/CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS/CONTESTS Submit your literary events/readings/workshops/performances/book launches/call for submissions/contests and we will share them via our newsletter, events listings Facebook and website. Please Submit to RCLAS Director & Events Coordinator, Jennifer Ryan at Include all information typed within the body of the email (NO ATTACHMENTS PLEASE). Please write up your announcement in the simple format listed below: Title: Date: Time: Location: Contact Person: Email: Website: Description: Sticking to this format will allow us to copy and paste which will help ensure no errors are made in your listing. Please send your announcement as early as possible to give us adequate time to post.

Volunteers Wanted

Position: Volunteer Co-ordinator Call for Volunteers: If you would like to volunteer with our society in some capacity please do drop us a line and let us know. We are looking to build a capable, enthusiastic team that we can call on when needed. Perhaps you have a special talent you can share with us and would like to become a part of our growing society? Willing to help us out - a group of like-minded individuals with the shared goal of helping writers? We have many ideas and plans for 2014 but we can’t do it all alone. We want to make RCLAS the best we can be - one step at a time! We are all excited to begin our 2nd year and look forward to hearing from you! Happy New Year!


RCLAS Board       

President, Candice James Vice-President, Manolis Aligizakis Treasurer, Ken Ader Secretary, Deborah Kelly Director at Large, Janet Kvammen Director at Large Renee Saklikar Director at Large Jennifer Ryan

Board Advisor: Sylvia Taylor

About Us

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Pay by Paypal on our website or send cheque or money order to: RCLAS – Royal City Literary Arts Society Box #5 - 720 – Sixth Street, New Westminster, BC V3L 3C5 For further information: Phone – 778-714-1772 Email –


Wordplay at work

ISSN 2291-4269

RCLAS – Royal City Literary Arts Society Box #5 - 720 – Sixth Street, New Westminster, BC V3L 3C5 For further information: Phone – 778-714-1772 Email –

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Arts Council of New Westminster Wayne Wright Chuck Puchmayr The Heritage Grill Poetic Justice Poetry In The Park Saddlestone International Silver Bow Publishing

Drop me a line Janet Kvammen, RCLAS Director/ Newsletter Editor & Design